Monday, September 24, 2012

47 years but it seems like yesterday

lacklandcap2[3]Forty-seven years ago yesterday, I raised my right hand in the Indianapolis Armed Forces Induction Center, along with maybe 50 other guys, and took the oath of enlistment in the U.S. Air Force.

I had lost my student deferment and faced with the prospect of being drafted for the Army or the U.S. Marine Corps. That scenario almost certainly assured I'd be fed into the meat grinder that the Vietnam War had become.

So, recognizing that the Air Force has no infantry, I reckoned my best chance of surviving this unfortunate episode in our nation's history was to wear Air Force blue for the next four years.

As it turned out, I was back home with a medical discharge (allergies) in a scant 41 days.

I didn't hide out in the National Guard or flee to Canada or declare myself a conscientious objector.

I'm neither proud nor ashamed. I played the game by the rules. I rolled the dice and I won.

But I have an undying admiration and respect for those of my generation who did go, especially the young men and women whose names are inscribed in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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